Mile High Buttermilk Biscuits

A biscuit is a glorious thing. Done well, it can bring peace to all the land. Well, okay, that statement is a bit of a reach. At the very least, it can bring peace to a good meal. However, done poorly, it can bring down kingdoms. And that, is no lie. Here’s a biscuit recipe that has all the trappings…tall, flaky, buttery, delicious. What more does it need?

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I inadvertently omitted the baking soda from this picture so be sure to scroll down for the entire recipe rather than relying on my unreliable photo. Also, this recipe calls for buttermilk, but I didn’t have any on hand. Instead, I added 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to 2 cups of whole milk as a substitute. It works like a charm in baked goods. Also, keep the butter very cold and only dice it up once you have all the other ingredients ready to go.

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Add the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder to a large bowl and stir together thoroughly with a whisk. Cut the cold butter into small cubes and toss it into the flour mixture. Cut the butter into this mixture with a pastry cutter until it is the consistency of cornmeal.

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That’s perfect! You’ll still see tiny pieces of butter, which will make your biscuits rise like skyscrapers and taste like angel wings. I personally don’t know what angel wings taste like, but I’m going to guess they taste like these biscuits.

Add enough of the buttermilk (or milk and vinegar) to the flour mixture to form a slightly wet, shaggy ball. Mix it with a spoon just enough for it come together. Be sure not to over mix at this point. We live in New Mexico, which is very dry, so I needed all of the milk to bring the dough together. If you add too much liquid you can throw in some additional flour.

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Dump your shaggy ball of dough onto a well floured surface. Flour your hands liberally and slightly knead the dough together. Don’t over knead. You’re really just trying to get all of the dough to hold together, you’re not looking for a smooth ball of dough. Fold the dough over onto itself and gently press it down into a rectangle-ish shape. Fold it over 3 or 4 more times, gently pressing it down into a rectangle each time. This light handed process will help you achieve tall biscuits consisting of buttery layers. No need to use a rolling pin here. Just your hands.

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Gently press the dough into one final rectangle, about an inch or so thick. I’m going to guess that this rectangle is about 11″x 9″. I have a large 3″ biscuit cutter, so I am only able to get roughly 12-14 biscuits out of this recipe. If you use a smaller 2″ cutter you can probably get closer to 20 biscuits. When cutting out your biscuits refrain from pressing down and “twisting” the cutter. This motion will actually seal the edges of your dough preventing them from getting as tall as they can when they bake. Just press down and lift up, no twist at the end. Press your dough scrapes together to cut out as many biscuits as possible. Just know that these won’t be as pretty as the first ones you cut out, but they will be just as delicious. Serve these biscuits to your least favorite family member at meal time. It’s a passive aggressive way to share your displeasure and no one’s the wiser!

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I was able to get 12 biscuits out of this batch. See those in the upper right-hand corner? Those are for cousin Biff. Just kidding. I don’t have a cousin Biff. But if I did…!

This pan is 13″x 9″ quarter sheet pan. You can also use a cast iron skillet. Lay the biscuits so they are just touching each other. No need to grease the pan, there should be enough butter in them to keep them from sticking. Pop these into a preheated 400º oven for 30 minutes, then slather them with butter & jelly, or sausage gravy, or a slice of smoked ham and a wedge of cheddar cheese, or a fried egg and a slice of crispy bacon, or…you get the idea!

See full recipe and instructions below.

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Mile High Buttermilk Biscuits

  • 4 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 2 tablespoons Baking Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 12 tablespoons cold butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 2 cups Buttermilk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400º.
  2. Mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl using a wire whisk.
  3. Dice the cold butter into small cubes and toss in the flour mixture. Cut the butter and flour mixture together using a pastry cutter until it resembles the texture of fine cornmeal.
  4. Add the buttermilk, stirring with a spoon until it forms a very shaggy, wet dough. Don’t over mix, just stir until it starts to come together.
  5. Dump the dough onto a well floured surface. Lightly knead just to ensure all the loose bits are incorporated. Don’t over knead.
  6. Gently press into a rectangle, then fold the dough over onto itself. Do this 4 or 5 times. Do not use a rolling pin.
  7. Form a final rectangle about 1″ thick, roughly 11″x 9″ and cut biscuits using a biscuit cutter. A larger biscuit cutter will net approximately 12 biscuits, a smaller biscuit cutter will net approximately 20 biscuits. Gently knead the dough scrapes together to cut those last biscuits.
  8. Place biscuits so they are just barely touching each other on an ungreased sheet pan.
  9. Bake at 400º approximately 30 minutes or until the biscuits are light golden brown.
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